The Fear of Failure
"It's hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
I´d like to start this 2017 by revisiting the topic of failure. Although many of us may prefer to talk about success, as Brené Brown stated in a TED talk, the fear of failure and shame prevent many from moving ahead in life.
Brown, considers shame to be an epidemic of our culture that no one wants to talk about, but which hides behind various behaviors that limit human growth.
She opened a quote from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
I am convinced that this is what life is all about, throwing yourself into the "arena," being prepared to receive blows and if you fall, getting up to keep fighting.
But, many people don’t get into the ring, don’t dare to confront the challenges of life, out of shame, or the simple fear of failure, which hovers like a ghost who tells you that you are not sufficiently good, intelligent, or talented when you are about to enter the ring. For example, when you’re about to win a client, close a deal, make a presentation to your boss.
When this happens, there is no critic more implacable than ourselves. For many it´s comfortable to ignore challenges until we are "sufficiently prepared, strengthened, protected." But this never happens, because there is no such thing as the ideal moment.
So in this life we need to be audacious, bold, brave. We must apply ourselves without fear of failure.
Dr. Brown talks about how shame varies according to gender. In the case of women, shame is like a straitjacket formed by a network of conflicting and unachievable expectations. While for men, it can be summed up in the fear of being perceived as weak.
In both cases the way out of this conflict is the same: understand how it affects us personally; how we relate to others and how it affects us in our work environment.
Brown argues that three elements are required for shame to fester: secrecy, silence, and judgment. Given this panorama, a first step and part of the antidote to understand how it affects us is the mental and affective identification between people: empathy.
In order to achieve such identification, vulnerability, the other main thread of Brown's studies, plays a key role. After interviewing hundreds of people, she concluded that there is a deeply dangerous myth concerning vulnerability, namely that it’s synonymous with weakness.
On the contrary, Brown says that vulnerability is the most accurate measure of courage. She defines it as an emotional risk that must be taken as part of the road to innovation, creativity, and change. Daring to create, to propose, to change, generates vulnerability, because we let ourselves be seen by others.
said: "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
In this 2017 let’s take the initiative to get into the ring and bravely face the challenges that life throws at us. In the end, we will be remembered for what we did and not for what we hesitated to do.